Novice Teacher Stressors

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Assignment title
An investigation of novice teachers' stressors in the elementary classroom - A case study in Gora School


The purpose of this research is to observe how novice teachers in Gora School [Pseudonymous name] experience stress. This study also aims to attempt to propose ways in which schools can be better managed in order to lower the overall perceived stress levels by novice teachers.

It could be argued that teacher preparation programs should prepare scholars to identify stress factors and employ efficient coping mechanisms and progress through a satisfying career in education. Among all causes, stress from teaching is one of the salient factors investigated by many educators. Having the ability to deal with stressors is vital in teacher retention.

This assignment sets out to identify stressors encountered by novice primary teachers in Gora School and the relationship between these stressors, teacher efficacy and work performance. It also seeks to investigate the perception of novice teachers in this school towards various potential occupational stressors. The aim is to expose certain issues which may be accountable for novice teacher stress in Gora School.

Gora School is a state school in Malta. It caters for the nearby settlements. With the influx of foreign people settling in Malta, the school has attracted a marked proportion of students of a foreign origin. Now, the school population hovers around the eight hundred mark, with around eighty students coming from twenty-two foreign countries.

The school has a School Management Team [SMT] made up of one Head of school and four Assistant Heads. Teaching staff is made up of thirty teachers, of which seven are novice teachers. At present, in the school there are also five pre-service teachers on their first field experience. Thus, this research examines the following issues investigated within the context of Gora School:

What do novice teachers consider to be their main causes of stress prior and during field experience or their first year(s) of teaching? How can teacher educators assist with relieving novice teachers' stress? How can novice teachers identify their personal stressors and utilize effective coping mechanisms to eliminate and / or alleviate the identified stressors? What can the managers of Gora School do to help lower stress for teachers whom they manage? Are there ways in which schools can be better managed in order to lower overall perceived stress levels in the school?

An integral part of the role of the teacher involves the exercise of a tremendous amount of patience and self-control. In the research that follows these research questions are pursued in the literature review. Once cross-examined for existing literature, the research questions are then scrutinised according to the methodologies outlined in the investigation. The findings from this research are set out in the analysis section, and in the process are compared and contrasted with the literature. The conclusion proceeds to establish ways in which schools can be better managed in order to lower overall perceived stress levels by novice teachers.

2.1 Defining Stress

Throughout life, human beings aim to satisfy biological, psychological and social needs. When these needs are not met due to various circumstances, stress is experienced [Ravichandran & Rajendran, 2007]. Although a single definition is difficult to use, stress is usually caused due to an imbalance of demands and resources; when an individual feels a sense of powerlessness in a particular circumstance because the demands surpass the individual’s resources or because the individual is not able to adjust to a new circumstance. One may not be able to cope with a particular circumstance in the case of prolonged exposure to stress [Mo, 1991].

The effects of stress can be manifested in many different ways, including physical effects such as sleep disturbances,...
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